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Graphing Laboratory Data In Microsoft Windows

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.216.1 - 2.216.5



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Paper Authors

author page

Glenn S. Kohne

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2520

Graphing Laboratory Data in Microsoft Windows Glenn S. Kohne Loyola College in Maryland


As the volume of Windows applications multiplies and their sophistication increases, each application tends to do more functions thereby making its installation, configuration, and use more complex. There is a population of laboratory instructors who would like to make available to their students some very specific data handling programs that would be simple to install, configure, and use. This paper introduces and makes available two such data capture and graphing programs. The first program, "Curvefit", accepts experimental data points and fits an n- degree polynomial (n = 1 to 5). It provides very easy to use graphing mechanisms for the screen and for the printer. It has been adopted for course use by one of our materials science professors. The second program, "Diode", provides the same experimental data collection and graphing services as the first but it fits an exponential curve through the data points. This program is intended to provide the exponential equation describing a semiconductor diode. This program is used in the basic electronics course and associated laboratory at Loyola College.


There is a wide variety of software designed to provide mathematical analysis and graphing functions to engineering faculty and students. The most successful (commercially) of these provide a wide variety of very powerful mathematical tools at a very reasonable price. In many undergraduate (especially freshman) laboratory courses, the time required for the students to learn to use the data collection, equation fitting and graph configuring functions of these tools can exceed the time devoted to the laboratory's experiments.

The two Microsoft Windows application programs presented here are simple to install and to use. The graphic user interface (GUI) provides direct and intuitive access to data collection, equation fitting and graph configuration operations. Average students can be expected to fully understand the use of these application programs in under ten minutes. This will encourage the students to experiment with the various curves that can be fitted as well as to try different specifications for the graphic presentation of their data.

Description & Operation

The two applications appear quite similar to the user. The Principal functions are launched by a menu selection. The menu for "Curvefit" is shown below.

Kohne, G. S. (1997, June), Graphing Laboratory Data In Microsoft Windows Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6594

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